Longtime mineral collector and dealer Evan Abbott Jones was born October 18, 1961, in Phoenix, Arizona, son of Alicia Ann Abbott and well-known collector and author Robert W. Jones. Evan started collecting minerals at age 9 and with his father he toured museums, attended mineral shows, went on collecting trips and visited mineral dealers from an early age. He grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona but summers were spent in Connecticut with his grandparents, where the entire Jones family would stay for three months of every year.
In the 1970s, Evan won several trophies for competitive mineral exhibits at the Arizona State Fair, and was a member of the Mineralogical Society of Arizona in the junior division. By this time, through his father, he had already met many luminaries in the mineral field including Scott Williams, Peter Embrey, Walt Lidstrom, Max Hey, Susie Davis, Paul Desautels, Fred Pough, George and Dick Bideaux, Mark Bandy, Vince Manson, John Sinkankas, Clifford Frondel and others. He was also very active in Boy Scouts, earning his Eagle Scout rank in 1977.
In 1979 Evan graduated from Scottsdale High School in Scottsdale, Arizona and enrolled in the geology program at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Soon after, he began working part-time at the Arizona Mineral Museum in downtown Phoenix, helping to curate the state mineral collection. He also worked part-time at ASU for both Dr. Peter Buseck and Dr. Edmund Stump in the Geology department. The summers of 1980-1984 were spent in Silverton, Colorado with older brother William R. Jones at Root & Norton Assayers, where he prepped ore samples for fire assay and did mapping and geological field work. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Geology in May 1985.
After graduation, Evan immediately began working with collector minerals, first curating and cataloging the collection of noted Arizona collector Thomas N. McKee, then working for dealers Wayne and Dona Leicht of Kristalle in Laguna Beach, California.
In May 1986, he was hired by Charles Leavitt of Bitner's, Inc., in Phoenix, Arizona (a wholesale mineral dealership started by Fred and Barclay Bitner) as their mineral specialist. There he sold quantities of wholesale minerals from Mexico and Arizona, handled several mineral collections, and supplied rock shops and galleries throughout the U.S and Europe with mineral specimens, eventually becoming manager of the business. Bitner's was a regular dealer at the Desert Inn during the annual Tucson Show starting in 1987, then later at the Executive Inn after the Desert Inn closed.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the Jones family mineral collection consisted of worldwide specimens with particular strengths in Arizona, Mexico, England, Tsumeb, Germany, Australia and European classics. The collection had been started many years earlier by Evan's father, but beginning in the mid-1980s Evan took over the primary duties of collection curation and expansion.
In 1998 Evan left Bitner's and struck out on his own as a mineral dealer, setting up at numerous mineral shows across the U.S., including Tucson, Denver and Costa Mesa, California. By the mid-2000s, he had refocused the family mineral collection to specialize in the minerals of Arizona, now generally known to be one of the finest such collections in private hands.
In 2007, Evan became one of the first dealers to market fine azurites out of the Milpillas mine in Sonora, Mexico, and has become widely known as a specialist in this locality. Azurites from Milpillas have redefined the quality standards for species, and fine examples now reside in most private collections and museums throughout the world.
In January 2012 Evan formed Unique Minerals, Inc, a new fine mineral dealership in partnership with Philadelphia collector Marc Miterman. Continuing to supply fine minerals to collectors throughout the world, they can be found at most major mineral shows in the U.S. including Tucson, Houston and Denver. Evan also travels every year to the Saint-Marie Aux-Mines show in France and the Munich Show in Germany.
Evan has attended every Tucson Show since 1981 and has won several awards there over the years, including two Walt Lidstrom trophies, and the Miguel Romero and Richard Bideaux trophies. He helped organize the "Arizona Mineral Treasures" Arizona Centennial exhibition at the 2012 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show; organized the recent supplement to the Mineralogical Record magazine "Mineral Collections in Arizona"; is on the advisory board of the University of Arizona Mineral Museum in Tucson, and is a founding member of the Arizona Mineral Minions. He co-wrote recent articles on the minerals of Milpillas for the popular European mineral magazines Extra-Lapis and Mineralien-Welt and gave a lecture on Milpillas at the Dallas Fine Mineral Symposium in 2014. He has field collected and been underground in numerous mines in Arizona, Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah and New Mexico. In 2002, the most exhilarating event of his mineral collecting career was being among the first Americans to enter and explore the giant gypsum crystal cavern at Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico, perhaps the most stunning and important discovery of in-situ crystals on the planet.
In his spare time Evan works as a musician, and has played in various groups since 1986. In 1994 he founded the Grateful Dead tribute "Xtra Ticket," where he plays the role of Bob Weir. He has shared the stage with such luminaries of the Grateful Dead scene as Vince Welnick, Tom Constanten, Robert Hunter, David Nelson, Melvin Seals, Barry Sless, Pete Sears, John Molo, Dave Hebert, Mark Karan, Jimmy Tebeau and many others. He is in a committed relationship with his girlfriend and partner Melissa Palermo and currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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Label used by Bob and Evan Jones (1985-2003)
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Label used by Bob and Evan Jones (1985-2003)